Tag Archives: male romance

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Interview with the Author, and My Review for Believe in the Wish by Christi Snow

Believe in the Wish by Christi Snow is a New Adult Contemporary Male Romance with an adventure, a bit of a mystery and filled with sibling love.  Believe in the Wish is a standalone novel.  Book Cover Designed by Jay Aheer.

Believe in the Wish was released on May 11, 2017, and is intended for readers 18 years and older.

Believe Banner

My Four Star Review:

Let me first say, you will need a few tissues for this story.   Ethan Roberts twin sister, Emma, passes away from cancer and Ethan is left with a gaping hole in his heart. He just can’t seem to function without his other half.  But Emma is a smart sister and knows she needs to kick her brother’s butt from the grave.  Emma enlists her attorney to carry out a plan to ensure Ethan finds his Happily Ever After.  This help comes in the form of letters from Emma to Ethan but not just Ethan.  Emma’s best friend Hawk gets pulled into the mix and is sent on a few “missions’ with Ethan.   Hawk is struggling with a few demons of his own and together, Hawk and Ethan, find some common ground the courage to help them both move on.

This was a really cute story and it really pulled me in when Emma said, in her first letter, “Make a Wish, Ethan.  Believe in it. It’s time to live!” and Ethan made his wish, “I wish I wasn’t so alone.”   I kind of got the feeling if Hawk was going to make a wish, it would’ve been the same one.

This is the first book I’ve read by Christi and I really enjoyed each of her characters.  I would encourage you to grab this book and take a chance on a new author like I did.  You might find some really great reads.

Synopsis:

I buried my twin sister six months after she found out she had cancer. Her funeral was three months ago. Today is our birthday and it started with delivery of letters from her.

It seems she didn’t trust me to move on after her death. She knows me too well. But how can I go on when my other half is just…gone? That’s not something I can recover from with a snap of my fingers. But I also can’t ignore her instructions even though I’d be perfectly content to cuddle up with my buddy, Johnnie Walker, and call it a year.

She has a list of things for me to do and there are rules attached.

There’s one major problem besides the fact it’s been three months since I left the house. I have to do all these things with her jerk of an ex, Hawk Simmons. He abandoned her shortly after she found out she was sick. If that wasn’t enough to make this a really bad idea, the fact that he makes an appearance in all my nighttime fantasies probably does.

I don’t think I can do this, but I owe it to my sister’s memory to try.

Interview with the Christi Snow:

Question:  What’s harder, naming your characters, creating the title for your book or the cover design process?

None of those are hard. Those are my first steps when I’m still really excited about a book and the information simply flows out of my head through my fingertips. I love the whole creation process and nothing is more exciting than when cover art hits my inbox from my designer.

A little secret for you…Believe in the Wish was written TO the cover. Jay Aheer is the cover designer for this book and when I saw it, I bought it. I had no clue what to use it for. The story came FROM that gorgeous cover.

Question:  “How do you answer the question “Oh, you’re an author…what do you write?”

I’m the world’s worst about promoting myself, so I tend to stutter and stammer through this. But usually I say something along the lines of “I write romance” or “I write romantic suspense.” It gets to be fun when the conversation continues. People are either really intrigued (and honestly, that’s the norm) or really, really rude about the romance genre in general. But I swore early on, I would always claim my work with pride, so even in my small West Texas town, I talk about my love for male/male romances and will list all the various genres I write in…which I’ll admit, is really varied. It’s interesting to see how different people react. Thankfully, I’m a serious introvert so rarely talk to other people, so the subject rarely comes up.

Question:  What does your family think of your writing?

My family has been incredibly supportive. I think I confuse most of them…because I am from a conservative, rural American family where things like LGBTQA rights aren’t really even on their radar. But after moving around the world with the military, I’ve been exposed to so much more than I ever would have if I’d stayed close to home (and I’m so thankful for that). So while I may be the black sheep of the family in just that they don’t get or even necessarily agree with my beliefs, they’ve never been anything but supportive about me and my writing. I’m extremely lucky there.

Question:  Tell us about your current work in process and what you’ve got planned for the future.

Oh wow…that’s opening up a can of worms. At any given time, I’m working on 3-5 projects.

Right now…

  1. I’m actively writing Snowcroft Restoration (book #4 in the Men of Snowcroft series…m/m).
  2. I’m also actively writing When Love Comes Back (an unexpected book #5 in the When the Mission Ends series that just exploded upon my muse last week…m/f).
  3. Getting ready to do mild rewrites on Found at the Bookstore (book #2 in the Found series…m/m) so it can go to my editor. This will be my next release after Believe in the Wish.
  4. Gearing up to tackle my behemoth Intertwined Hearts manuscript to get it ready for beta readers. This 128,000 word beast is my m/m/f and is book #3 in the Men of Snowcroft series and should be releasing in the late summer.
  5. Then I also have two paranormal m/m novellas coming out late fall/early winter called Smolder and Shiver.

Giveaway – click below for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card.

Author Rafflecopter Giveaway

Excerpt:

Katya ended her call and promptly pushed the ‘away’ button for receiving phone calls. “I’m sorry. No more calls. They may not think so, but they can survive without me for an hour or so while we have our chat.”

Ethan’s stomach rolled over. That brought them to the question of the hour…chat about what? But he was almost afraid to ask at this point. Instead, he redirected. “Do you have your own firm, or do you work for someone else?”

She raised an eyebrow at him, but with a slight tilt of her head she must have seen something in his expression because she answered, “I own my own firm. When I graduated from law school, I went into a partnership that was later dissolved when I bought my partner out. It’s all mine now, which keeps me very busy.”

He grimaced. “And that’s further complicated by hermits like me who refuse to answer phone calls or mail deliveries. Sorry about that.”

“No.” She shook her head. “It’s time for you to stop apologizing. This is a hard time for you and that’s okay. To a certain extent, that’s the way it should be…”

She hesitated for a moment. “At least for a little while. You’re allowed to grieve. But Emma knew this would be an issue for you, so she made plans.”

“What kind of plans?”

Katya reached into her briefcase and pulled out a file. She reached inside and pulled out an envelope that she handed to him. On the front was his name, written in Emma’s handwriting. Suddenly it was hard to breathe.

“What is this?” he whispered.

“The first of your instructions. You need to open and read it.”

He didn’t want to. He didn’t know why, but he really didn’t want to. “I’d rather wait until I’m at home.” At his house, if he fell apart, he could do it without witnesses.

She shook her head kindly. “No, that won’t work. She was very specific in how she wanted this all to go. I need you to open it now.”

Ethan swallowed against the huge lump in his throat as he tried to find air to breathe. His heart pounded in his chest. Surely, everyone around them could hear that.

“It’s okay,” she said softly. “I promise.”

“That’s where you’re wrong.” He glanced up at her. “It’s never going to be okay again.” His voice cracked.

She lowered her lids, and her lips compressed into a tight line as if his grief was too much for her.

His hands shook as he turned the envelope over, lifting the sealed flap. It had to be his imagination, but he could have sworn that he smelled a faint whiff of the strawberry lotion Emma always liked to wear.

For just a moment, he shut his eyes and tried to calm down his emotions going haywire. He didn’t know whether to be angry that she’d done this to him, sad that she wasn’t here to tell him whatever information this letter held, or scared at whatever Emma had cooked up for him.

Throughout her life, she’d kept him hopping. As the exuberant, outgoing twin, she’d always dragged him into trouble when all he’d wanted to do was stay home. In that regard, this whole scheme of hers was very apropos.

He took a deep breath and pulled out the single sheet of paper and unfolded it. At the very first words on the paper, his eyes filled with tears.

Happy Birthday, baby brother.

He glanced up in disbelief at Katya. “It’s May fifteenth?”

At her silent nod, he gazed down at the paper in his hands, his eyes filling with tears. It was their twenty-fifth birthday. The first birthday he’d ever celebrated without her. She’d only been twenty-four when she’d died. How unfair was that? To her. To him. To the world that missed out on everything she had to offer it.
Emma’s handwriting wavered in front of his eyes, but he continued to read, not knowing what else to do. His other option—sobbing in the middle of the restaurant—would be mortifying.

I’m sorry I’m not there to go out partying with you. Remember when we were little and you didn’t want to share your birthday with me? Now you get your wish.

He’d been a horrible person. The tears overflowed his eyes. He’d made that wish more years than he even wanted to remember. How selfish was that? How could he have wished for a life without her in any way? She’d been his light.

Katya shoved a tissue into his hand.

Right. He was in public. Time to get it together.

My bad. It was probably too soon for a joke like that.

I love you, Ethan.

I know I didn’t say that enough—you know emotional displays and I didn’t mix—but beyond anything else that happens over the next few weeks, KNOW THAT. I love you, and if I could have figured out a way to stay, I would have…for you.

But God obviously had different plans for me, so now I’ll just have to content myself with being your guardian angel for the next seventy-five years. I’ll have your back, bro. I promise.

And in the interest of having your back, that’s why Katya is here.

I know you. You’re stubborn, and right now, I imagine that you’re more than a little sad. I get that, but that doesn’t mean you stop living. My death means you have to live twice as much because you have to do it enough for both of us. I’m counting on you.

But, again, I know you, so I’ve enlisted some help from my friends just to get you going.

Make a Wish, Ethan. Believe in it. It’s time to live.

~Emma

When Ethan finished reading, he took several deep breaths. The sobs had welled in his throat, and it was all he could just to hold them inside.

“You okay?” Katya asked.

“Yeah.” His voice sounded husky, but he’d managed to say the word, so he figured that for a win.

“Then it’s time for step two.”

He looked up just as she held a flaming lighter to the candle on top of a cupcake. She pushed it in front of him. “Make a wish and blow. All you have to do is believe.”

As he sat there, looking at the flickering candle, it occurred to him at just how sad this was. His twin was dead, and he was at some bizarre birthday celebration with someone he’d never even met before. Even from the grave, Emma was working to pull him out of his shell.

So he closed his eyes and blew as he made his wish.

I wish I wasn’t so alone.

But when he opened them, nothing had changed. He was still sitting in a restaurant with a woman he didn’t know, mourning the twin sister who’d died. Not that he expected a miracle, but Emma wanted him to believe.

Believe.

How was that even possible? She’d been the one who believed in the magic of things like wishes and fairy tales. What had that gotten her? She’d died before she’d even had the chance to live. What kind of magic could he possibly believe in with that kind of reality?

Check out the other great Blogs on this Tour:

5/11 ~ Hearts on Fire Reviews

5/11 ~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

5/12 ~ MM Good Book Reviews

5/13 ~ Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

5/14 ~ Dog-Eared Daydreams

5/15 ~ Happily Ever Chapter

5/16 ~ Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy

5/16 ~ MM Book Escape

5/17 ~ Book Reviews Janisf & Leisha

5/17 ~ BFD Book Blog

5/18 ~ Dirty Books Obsession

5/19 ~ Reviews for Book Lovers

5/19 ~ Love Bytes Reviews

5/20 ~ Bayou Book Junkie

Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes

Find Christi Snow Here: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, Instagram

Author Image

Meet Christi Snow:

As an avid reader her entire life, Christi Snow always dreamed of writing books that brought to others the kind of joy she felt when she read. But…she never did anything about it besides jot down a few ideas and sparse scenes.

When she turned 41, she decided it was time to go after her dream and started writing. Within four months, she’d written over 150,000 words and hasn’t stopped since.

She’s found her calling by writing about sexy, alpha heroes and smart, tough heroines falling in love and finding their passion. She’s truly living the dream and loving every minute of it.

Her tagline is… Passion and adventure on the road to Happily Ever After. She’s loving this adventure!

As always, Keep Writing/Keep Reading ~janisf

I received a copy of this book directly from the publisher.  Blog Tour sponsored by IndiGo. Cover by Jay Aheer.

jay aheer    IndiGo Badge (1)        Believe Teaser 3

At Attention by Annabeth Albert #newrelease #giveaway

At Attention is a Military Male Second Chance at Love Romance by Annabeth Albert. It is the second book in her Out of Uniform series but can be read as a standalone.  It is intended for readers 18 years and older.

At Attention will be releasing today, April 10, 2017.

at attention

My Five Star Review:

This was the first book I’ve read by Annabeth Albert and I absolutely loved it.  The two main characters, Lieutenant Apollo Floros and Dylan, his best friend and fellow Lieutenant’s little brother, were so cute from the very beginning.

Dylan and Apollo first meet 8 years ago when Dylan was 15 and now Dylan’s brother thinks he’s the best one to help Apollo take care of his twin daughters for the summer.

Apollo can’t seem to keep his eyes off Dylan but he’s 12 years older than Dylan and he knows this whole thing is a bad idea.  But Dylan hits it off with Apollo’s kids and finally with Apollo.  Their relationship has their ups and down but hang in there with them, they get their happily ever after.

This is a really cute, fast read and I would highly recommend it.

More About At Attention: 

Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.

Find out more about Annabeth Albert here:
Website, Facebook, Facebook Fan GroupTwitter, Goodreads

Click the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card.

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Excerpt
**This is from the first chapter**

Hamburger. Onions. Pickles. Ketchup. Buns. Buns.

Well, hello, there. Possibly the most perfect specimen Apollo had ever seen was bent over in the bakery aisle at Sprouts, looking at a rack of organic cookies. High. Tight. Round. Attached to muscular legs poking out of board shorts, the kind of legs that suggested a serious investment in a sport or fitness. He wasn’t going to do more than look, but even when he’d been with Neal, he hadn’t been blind, and it was nice to know perfection like this guy existed in the world.

It was like swimming by a perfect coral reef on a dive or the blue of a cloudless sky right before a jump—

Wink. Fuck. The guy straightened before Apollo could look away and caught Apollo staring, and instead of blushing or serving him with the angry glare he deserved, he gave Apollo a saucy wink. It was the sort of wink that a decade ago would have had Apollo crossing the shiny linoleum and getting the guy’s number, but those days were long gone.

Instead he grabbed the closest twelve pack of hamburger buns and one of hot dog buns and headed to the next aisle. Those were the only kind of buns he had any business letting himself be distracted by. He was a father for crying out loud, not some single guy out treating the natural grocery store like his own personal pickup joint. Reflexively, he rubbed his ring with the side of his pinky, making it spin on his ring finger. Yeah. No more looking.

“Apollo! How are you?” Bridget from down the street almost ran her cart into his as he navigated the aisles. Her red-haired toddler waved at him from the basket.

Hell. He knew he should have brought at least one of the girls shopping. Then Bridget could have focused on the kids, and not his least favorite question in the universe.

“Hanging in there.” Apollo gave her a practiced a smile. “Good” would be a lie and no one wanted to hear “same as yesterday,” which was closer to the truth. But what the Bridgets of the world all wanted to hear was that Apollo was moving on—like time was the magic cure for the hole in his heart. “Having some people over for a barbecue later. Apologies if anyone parks in front of your place.”

“Oh, no worries.” Bridget patted his arm. “Having friends is so important.”

“Yeah, it is,” Apollo agreed because Bridget was a nice person, but inwardly his teeth gnashed together. He was so tired of well-meaning people telling him what was good for him when not a damn one of their suggestions would bring Neal back. “I better get on with my list.”

“You do that. And be sure and let us know if you need anything.”

Apollo nodded. Two years. It had been two years of neighbors and friends stopping him like this, making kind offers, but none of them able to do the one thing he wanted more than anything.

Fuck. Snap out of it, Lieutenant. No one wants your mopey ass around on this sunny May weekend. And it was an absolutely gorgeous day, perfect for playing with the girls outside and kicking back a few beers with his friends. He wasn’t on duty and had three consecutive days off for the first time in a long time. No sense dwelling on sad shit. Time to get stuff done.

Find something else to focus on.

Like that perfect ass?

No. Absolutely not that. Like…pickles. Lots and lots of pickles.

He saw Mr. Perfect Butt again in the juice aisle, and it was damn hard to keep his resolution to stick to shopping. The guy was model cute—curly hair falling just so over his forehead, sparkling eyes, chiseled jaw, and a tight T-shirt advertising a British soccer team showing off a defined chest and tight stomach. The guy smiled at him again and looked like he might want to speak, so Apollo grabbed the juice boxes for the girls and got out of there like he’d just launched a flash bang in the guy’s direction.

At the checkout, Mr. Perfect Butt was ahead of him in the only line that seemed to be moving. Apollo very carefully did not look at his butt again and busied himself grabbing some gum and trying to give off “don’t talk to me” vibes.

But those vibes seemed to be an utter failure as the guy turned, offering another movie-star-worthy grin. “You want to go first?” His voice was husky, like every word was a secret.

“I’m good,” Apollo said.

The man nodded, shy smile teasing the edges of his mouth, making his blue eyes dance. “You know—”

“ID please.” The cashier interrupted whatever flirtation the guy had planned as his six pack of beer went across the scanner.

“Oh, yeah.” A faint red flush spread up the guy’s neck. Oh hell. He wasn’t just younger than Apollo. He was a kid. A kid who still got carded, and rightfully so with that baby face. What the hell had Apollo been thinking, admiring his body?

Apollo focused on unloading his own groceries, making neat rows for the cashier, and making sure the buns wouldn’t get squished.

Buns. Nope. Not going there. The kid hung around after paying for his groceries, mouth moving as if he were debating speaking, but Apollo kept his attention squarely on the cashier.

No more looking. Remember who—what—you are now. When he finally looked up, perfect butt guy was gone, and if Apollo felt a twinge of regret for being a bit on the rude side, he squashed it quickly. Wasn’t like he’d ever see the guy again anyway.

As Always, Keep Writing/Keep Reading ~ janisf

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.

Enemy Within (The Executive Office #3) by Tal Bauer #releaseday #giveaway

Emeny Within is the 3rd book in this brilliant, outstanding political, military, romantic, mystery suspense/conspiracy series, The Executive Office, by Tal Bauer.  You MUST pick up books 1 and 2, Enemies of the State and Enemy of My Enemy, before digging into Enemy Within.

Enemy Within is not a standalone and you do NOT want to miss even a minute of this complex story!

This story is intended for readers 18 years and older.

Enemy Within releases today, March 28, 2017

enemy within

My FIVE Star Review:

How the hell do you review a book like this? Actually, How do you review a series like this one? Well …. My review will not include any spoilers and there are many of them. So let’s see if I can convince you to read it with this review.

First, let me say, I am completely blown away by the entire Executive Office Series.  From the very first book, Tal pulled me in with his amazing complex characters and a story full of adventure, suspense, and mystery.

I really loved how this series had two main characters, President Jack Spiers and Secret Service Agent Ethan Reichenbach, but all the secondary characters had a huge role in this story as well. All the characters played key parts all the way through each book. It’s a full ensemble cast!!  No need to wait for your favorite characters to get their own book, they are already in this one.

From the very first book, I knew Ethan and Jack’s love story was going to be one of my all time favorite romances and I was not wrong.  It was a true joy to watch the relationship between these two men change and grow in size with each book.  It would make me so happy if everyone in the entire world, no matter who they are or who they love, was able to find the kind of love and happiness these two men have.  I feel like I was lucky to be a part of it by reading this series.

Enemy Within was a heart pounding, mystery suspense, action packed adventure from beginning to end.  At one point I thought my heart was going to beat right out of my chest and in the next, it was being ripped in two.  I needed tissues to mop up my face on more than one occasion and then I couldn’t get the smile off my face.

This series is full of so much detail that the research had to be extensive.  I feel like I’ve learned so much about White House procedures, Russia, Russian Arctic, the Kara Sea, Saudi, and so much more.  I would highly recommend this series.  You will not be disappointed.

Thank you so much, Tal, for writing this story. I look forward to reading more of your stories in the future.

More About Enemy Within:

The White House, infiltrated.
The president, running for his life.
A traitorous general, intent on burning the world to the ground.

When everything falls apart, who do you trust?

President Jack Spiers fled Washington DC on the heels of a devastating attack on CIA headquarters, masterminded by one of America’s own, former General Porter Madigan. While the world believes Jack was killed in the bombing, he embarks on a wild infiltration mission, smuggling himself into occupied Russia to rescue the love of his life: former Secret Service Agent and First Gentleman Ethan Reichenbach.

Reunited, Jack, Ethan, and deposed Russian president Sergey Puchkov, along with President Elizabeth Wall—the only person left in Washington DC who Jack trusts—must work together. They piece together a desperate plan, hunting Madigan to the ends of the earth and the bitter frigidity of the Arctic, where Madigan’s world-shattering doomsday plan comes together.

Outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and outgunned, Jack, Ethan, Sergey, and the rest of the team struggle to put a stop to Madigan and his army. In the desolate extremes of the Arctic, their resolve, their strength, and even their love is tested, pushed to the absolute limits as choices must be made: choices that pit the fate of the world against the love in their hearts, and the loves of their life.

As the world crumbles around them, Jack and Ethan find themselves waging a war on two fronts—against an enemy they can see, and another, hiding within their ranks.

Who can be trusted when the enemy is within you?

the executive office series

Reading order for The Executive Office:
Enemies of the State (#1) – link to my review herehttp://wp.me/p69RB3-gN
Interlude: First Noel (#1.5) – link to my review here: http://wp.me/p69RB3-S2
Enemy of my Enemy (#2) – link to my review here: http://wp.me/p69RB3-Jx
Emeny Within (#3) 

If you are like me and always looking for more of Ethan and Jack, be sure to check out Bauer Bytes on Tal Bauer’s Website.

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Click above for a chance to win a signed copy of Enemy Within!

About Tal Bauer:

Tal Bauer writes LGBT fiction and romance, bringing together a career in law enforcement, trauma medicine, and international humanitarian aid to create dynamic characters, intriguing plots, and exotic locations. Tal’s stories weave together pulse-pounding adventure, cunning intrigue, and sweeping romance. He is happily married and lives with his husband and their Basset Hound in Texas.  Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

Find Tal here:  Website, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads, Smashwords

Check out a Sneak Peek of Enemy Within by clicking here.

As Always, Keep Writing/Keep Reading ~ janisf

I received a copy of this book directly from the publisher.

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Enemies of the State, Special Edition by Tal Bauer #sale #2addition #addedscenes #99pennies

enemies of the state

Enemies of the State, Special Edition by Tal Bauer is AVAILABLE NOW on Kindle for $0.99!!

It has a new cover designed by the amazing Natasha Snow and has over 15,000 new words, new and expanded scenes, and character artwork. This is the special edition you don’t want to miss!

 

Reading order for The Executive Office:
Enemies of the State (#1) – link to my review herehttp://wp.me/p69RB3-gN
Interlude: First Noel (#1.5) – link to my review here: http://wp.me/p69RB3-S2
Enemy of my Enemy (#2) – link to my review here: http://wp.me/p69RB3-Jx
Emeny Within (#3)  – review coming 3/28/17

Find Tal here:  Website, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads

As Always, Keep Writing/Keep Reading ~ janisf

 

The Next Competitor by Keira Andrews

The Next Competitor is a New Adult Male Sports Romance that takes place in the world of Figure Skating.  It is recommended for readers 18 years and older.

the-next-competitor-high-res

My FOUR Star Review:

I really enjoyed this story.  It was well written and very easy to follow.  The main characters are both figure skaters.  Alex is a singles skater and Matt is a pairs skater.  I will say, I didn’t really like Alex in the beginning.  But Matt I absolutely loved from the moment I met him.  It’s wonderful to read young love and watch as it blooms into something real and meaningful.

This story pulled me into the world of figure skating with all it’s ups and downs and I mean literally down, like falling onto the ice.   It’s amazing how many times a skater will fall and still keep getting up over and over again.

I especially loved the ending of this book and how everything turns out.  If you like male romance, young love and figure skating, then definitely pick up The Next Competitor.

More About The Next Competitor:

If he risks his heart, can he keep his head in the game?

To win gold, figure skater Alex Grady must train harder than the competition morning, noon, and night. He’s obsessed with mastering another quadruple jump, and due to the lack of filter between his mouth and brain, doesn’t have a lot of friends. As for a boyfriend, forget it. So what if he’s still a virgin at twenty? The Olympics are only every four years—everything else can wait. Relationships are messy and complicated anyway, and he has zero room in his life for romance.

So it’s ridiculous when Alex finds himself checking out his boring new training mate Matt Savelli. Calm, collected “Captain Cardboard” is a nice guy, but even if Alex had time to date, Matt’s so not his type. Yet beneath Matt’s wholesome surface, there’s a dirty, sexy man who awakens a desire Alex has never experienced and can’t deny…

Note: This gay romance from Keira Andrews features opposites attracting, new adult angst, sexual discovery, and of course a happy ending.

Find Keira Andrews here:  FacebookInternet WebsiteGoodreads, Amazon.

I received a copy of this book directly from the publisher.

As Always, Keep Writing/Keep Reading ~ janisf

Excerpt: The Next Competitor:

After the group finishes dinner, Matt says goodbye as we leave the restaurant. “Where are you going?” I ask before I can stop myself.

“It’s my first time in Philly, and there’s one thing I’ve got to see.”

My mouth opens and out plops, “I want to go with you.”

Matt’s eyebrows shoot up. “You do?”

“Just don’t feel like going back to my room yet.” I shrug, my cheeks hot as all eyes land on me again. “But if you want to go by yourself, it’s totally fine.” Why did I say anything at all?

“No, it’s cool.” Matt smiles, his eyes crinkling. “Come on.”

We turn in the other direction from the hotel after Mylene, who is giggling delightedly for some reason, waves goodbye. Night has fallen and the air has a frosty bite to it that reminds me winter isn’t far away, which means the Olympics aren’t far away either. We walk along in silence for a bit until I have to say something to break it.

“So, which sight is it?”

Matt zips up his jacket and puts his hands in his pockets. “You can’t guess?”

I think about what Philly is famous for. “The Liberty Bell?”

“Nope.”

“Some memorial to Ben Franklin?”

“Guess again.”

“The cheesesteak museum?”

Matt laughs. “Seriously? They have a cheesesteak museum?”

I laugh too, warmth flowing through me. “I have no idea. If they don’t, they should.”

We pass a big fountain, walking through a park in the center of a wide, looping street, an imposing building in the distance. As we get closer, it hits me. “Wait, wait. Is this the Rocky thing?”

Grinning, Matt nods and points to the building. “Philadelphia Museum of Art, featuring the famous seventy-two steps Rocky Balboa ran up in the movie.”

“You a big Stallone fan?” I’m a bit surprised.

“Not really, but who doesn’t love that moment? Come on, it’s classic.”

“I’ll give you that.”

We keep walking toward the museum, which is lit dramatically. I hardly ever visit any sights when I’m traveling for competitions, so it’s a nice change seeing some of Philadelphia. A little voice still nags, saying that I should be resting and getting ready for my long program tomorrow.

Matt says, “My dad loves that movie. We used to watch it together when I was a kid, and it was like… I don’t know. Like it helped us relate to each other. He’s a plumber from a big conservative Italian family in Richmond Hill—you know, a bit north of the rink? Anyway, we don’t really have that much in common. It’s tough these days.”

He sounds forlorn, and I have to shove my hands in my pockets to keep from reaching out to touch his arm. Maybe things aren’t as perfect in Matt’s life as I thought.

I clear my throat. “I got lucky with my father. He’s always been pretty liberal. He was a hippie or whatever back in the day. We can talk about anything.”

“How does he feel about you skating?”

“Aside from not loving how expensive it is, he’s all for it.”

“My dad didn’t like me skating when I was younger. At all. I actually only started to improve my hockey skills, but soon hockey fell by the wayside. I don’t know if he’s ever forgiven me.” Matt’s laugh is strained.

“I’m sorry he’s not more supportive. That must be so hard.”

Looking both ways, we jog across the street to the museum, and Matt shakes his head. “Now that I’m doing so well, I think he’s happy. I’m sure he is. Well, I hope so. Besides, he’s worked his ass off for years to pay for it, so it’s not that he wasn’t supportive in that way. He totally was.”

“Totally,” I agree. Clearly Matt’s got a few conflicting feelings about his dear old dad.

“Still, I think deep down he’d much rather have some stereotypically macho, hockey-playing son rather than a figure skater.”

I’m not sure what to say, so I make an “mmm” noise to show I’m listening. I didn’t know Matt could talk this much in a row.

“I just wish he could love me for who I am. I’ve always tried so hard to make him proud, but I don’t know if he’ll ever accept a gay son.” Matt shakes his head and laughs. “God, sorry. I don’t know how this became a therapy session.”

“No, it’s okay. I don’t mind.” Wow, Matt Savelli has angst. He always seems so together and unruffled, but perhaps he’s not made of cardboard after all. And I knew my trusty gaydar was on the money. It shouldn’t send a thrill down my spine to hear Matt confirm it, but…

“You’re a surprisingly good listener.”

“Thank you? I think?”

His eyes crinkle in the glow of the street lamps. “No, no, I didn’t mean it like that. What I meant was… It’s been nice getting to know you better.”

“Yeah, you too.” My stomach somersaults again, my fingers tingling.

At the middle of the wide, empty stairway we stand at the bottom of the steps, peering up. I whistle. “Wow. That’s a lot of stairs.”

“Bet I can beat you up there.”

I do love a challenge. “No way, no day.”

Suddenly, Matt’s off and running, and I curse under my breath as I launch after him. He’s faster than I thought, and although I close most of the distance, he remains a stride above me as we power our way up the steps. My breath comes in bursts that fog up the chilly air, and I strain to catch up with him. We pass a few people who are coming down, and they applaud as we race by.

I manage to pull up, and we’re neck and neck as we take the last steps. We reach the top in stride, and Matt lets out a whoop of joy, raising his arms in the air and dancing in a circle. I join in, because that’s what you do when you run up the Rocky steps. I’ve never seen him so animated. Well, except for when he’s irritated with me.

We take in the amazing view of the city. Skyscrapers rise in the distance, and before us is the huge oval area we walked across surrounded by the road, with trees and grass and a statue of a guy on a horse I barely noticed passing because Matt was talking.

We jump around like idiots, working up more of a sweat than we did on the stairs, which weren’t actually that hard. Matt leans his hands on his knees, and I reach out to give his shoulder a friendly punch, but my palm just rests there instead.

A shock bolts through me, like I’ve just touched a metal doorknob in winter. We’re both breathing a little hard, and Matt gives me this long look that makes me want to throw him down right here and now and do things that would get us arrested and kicked off our national teams.

He stands up straight and my hand falls away as he steps closer. His voice is low. “Thanks for coming up here with me. It was way more fun than doing it by myself.”

All I can think of is something else that is way more fun to do with someone else—not that I’d know from personal experience—and I swallow hard, my throat suddenly dry. I manage to get out, “Sure.” My pulse thrums in my ears, and it’s not because of the running and jumping.

We lean toward each other. I’m staring at his thick lips as he licks them, and I am so turned on right now, imagining what those lips will feel like on mine, and how Matt’s hands and body—

“Hurry up!”

Matt and I leap apart as a little boy hurtles over the top of the steps. His parents and a few siblings follow, huffing and puffing from their climb. The parents say hello to us and we reply, and I’m glad it’s dark, because I know I’m blushing like crazy.

The father asks us to take their photo, and Matt does, telling them to smile. He gives the phone back, and we stand there awkwardly for a few moments. I clear my throat. “Actually, want to take a pic of me so I can Instagram it?”

“Sure.” He takes my phone, and I raise my hands over my head triumphantly with a big competition smile. It’s dark, but hopefully there’s enough ambient light since a flash will just make it look like shit.

I reach for my phone back, but he says, “Wait a sec.” Coming close, he puts a big hand on my shoulder, spinning me to face away from the museum as my heart thumps. He says, “I’ll get you from behind.”

Of course I practically choke on my tongue, my balls tightening at the thought as I gaze out at the city and try desperately to clear my dirty mind. Matt laughs awkwardly. “Um, you know what I mean.”

“Uh-huh.” I raise my arms. “Is this good?”

“Yep!” He sounds too cheerful now.

Once he’s got the picture, I take a few for him. “I guess we should…” I motion to the steps.
Matt nods. “Yeah, it’s getting late.”

It’s barely eight, but I murmur in agreement and start down. We descend side by side, not talking. It would seem weird to try and kiss him now. Or maybe I should stop overanalyzing and kiss him anyway. But wait, do I really want to kiss Matt? I’m not supposed to kiss anyone right now with the Olympics coming up, especially not Captain Cardboard.

But now that I’m actually talking to him, Matt’s different than I thought he was. He’s cool, actually. We haven’t even argued the whole night, and he wanted me to come out with him.

Well, he didn’t argue, and it’s not like I gave him a choice. He would have had to be totally rude to stop me from coming, and he’s too Canadian for that.

My palms sweat. Maybe he doesn’t like me at all. I think he’s cool now that I’ve given him a chance, but what if he thinks I’m a bigger jerk than he did before? And why should I even care?

“Is your family coming this weekend?” Matt’s voice sounds completely calm and normal. Maybe he didn’t really want to kiss me, but was swept up in the whole moment, or something. Or it was all in my imagination and there wasn’t a “moment” at all. I need to get a grip.

“Alex?”

I realize he’s waiting for an answer. “Yeah. They’re driving here tomorrow.”

“What does your mom do?”

I tell him about my mom’s work as an HR consultant, which I’m sure is fascinating for him. His mom’s a teacher, and we talk about that for a while, and before I know it, we’re back in the hotel.

In the elevator, Matt presses the eleventh floor. His hand hovers by the bank of buttons, and he looks at me expectantly. “Fifteen,” I answer.

Matt smiles as he steps off on his floor. “See you around tomorrow. Good luck.”

“See ya. You too.” I’m going for a casual tone and am moderately successful.

The doors close, and that’s it, like nothing happened. Which I guess is true.

Copyright © Keira Andrews